Liquid Inclusion: The Dynamics of Inclusion Under Datafication and Surveillance
42 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2023
Date Written: March 25, 2023
This paper uses a lens of ‘liquid surveillance’ to conceptualise the concomitant roles of digital platforms in enacting surveillance and enabling inclusion for those at the margins of society. Within platform ecosystems, a ‘liquid inclusion’ is exposed to be dictated by episodic tasks of self-surveillance rather than being an absolute positive benefit of participating in the digital economy. The paper traces the experiences of informal workers in south India who enter the digital economy under the surveillance of both Aadhaar, India’s national digital identity and the datafication of labour enacted by digital ‘gig-work’ platforms. Methods used include ethnographic interviewing and auto-ethnography of the author’s own use of digital platform ecosystems working as a food delivery gig-worker. The findings in this paper point to a profound reframing by digital platforms of inclusion sought by marginalised users through legal and online identities, financial inclusion and formalisation of welfare and labour.
Keywords: digital identity, inclusion, digital economy, gig work, gig economy, surveillance, labour
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